MOLLY’S GAME – A Review by John Strange

MOLLY'S GAME – A Review by John Strange
When you are raised to be the best.  When your father works day and night to instill within you a drive to do more than to participate and accept a medal.  When that father demands you are only in it for the GOLD and nothing less will do.  What do you do when injury takes you out of competition?  That is the decision that Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was forced to make following her disastrous appearance on the downhill ski slope in the Winter Olympics qualifiers. 
Her performance was looking perfect until a freak occurrence destroyed her jump.  She puts her plan to go to law school is put on hold and goes to LA to regroup and get her bearings.  Needless to say, this is without parental approval or support but she has some cash and stays with a friend.
She picks up a job at a trendy bar selling bottle service.  It is here, in a job that entails talking people into spending $500-1000 instead of the $50 they intended to.  She is very good at her job.  She is recruited by one of the big spenders who spend their evenings at the club.
Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong) hires Molly to be his assistant, at his beck and call 24 hours a day.  Her pay is $450.00 a week.  Not exactly big money.  The real money comes when he decides to use her to help run his high-stakes poker games. 
Soon, Molly is making more money in tips from the players than she ever imagined at the bar.  Each week she takes on more of the work running the games.  The games are soon going almost too well. 
Dean's jealousy of her burgeoning relationship with the players blossoms.  In a fit of spite, he fires her.  This sets up Molly to grow into the full flower of her entrepreneurial abilities.  When she hits a roadblock she adapts and overcomes.
This brings us to the primary plotline which runs throughout the movie, Molly's arrest on gambling charges by heavily-armed FBI agents. 
She hires a great lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba).  One of the reasons Molly hires him is his honesty.  She isn't looking for a lawyer who will do whatever it takes, she want one who will fight for her within the law.  That is exactly what she gets in Charlie.
The chemistry between lawyer and client is a large part of what makes this film a success.  The emotions coming from the two of them in their fight to save Molly from prison is what makes this two hour and twenty minute film seem much shorter.  All-star supporting players like Kevin Costner (Molly's Dad, Larry) and Michael Cera (Player X) fill out an Oscar-worthy cast. 
Molly's Game is based on a true story.  This is Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut and he did a magnificent job with it!  In a season chock-full of good movies, this is one of the best!  Make plans to see this one soon!
Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd
MPAA Rating: R (for language, drug content and some violence)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 140 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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